As the pandemic rages on, life continues, and Portlanders are finding creative ways to adapt. With life-saving limitations on public outings and childcare in place, figuring out date nights can be a conundrum. Though it’s hard to lose our usual ways of celebrating love and connection, it helps to remember that dates don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. It’s all about finding ways to reconnect and refresh. Here’s our big list of local(ish) date ideas, whether you’re looking to go out, get away, or stay in. Read on for all the details.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have childcare. If you are part of a “social bubble” with other families, you may be able to trade day-time playdates, or have another parent stay with your kids after bedtime so you can go out. Maybe your own parents, in-laws, or other family members live in town and can watch your kids. Or perhaps you have a regular babysitter or nanny-share. Whatever the case may be, if you have safe childcare options, here are some ways to get out and get some distance from your kids for a little while.
Hit the Zoo
Think a day at the zoo is just for kids? Think again! Taking a stroll together through the Oregon Zoo can be a great way to reconnect with your special someone. The zoo has reopened and you can now reserve timed-entry tickets 10 days in advance. There are guidelines in place to reduce crowds and ensure social distancing, so be sure to review the guidelines before making your reservation. Then, get ready for some outdoor fun with all the animals!
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Daily 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Photo by Shawn Linehan via Side Yard Farm
Monday Night Outdoor Yoga at Side Yard Farm and Kitchen
Spread out a mat alongside fields bursting with summer bounty, during donation-based Outdoor Yoga Nights, held weekly at Side Yard Farm and Kitchen. What a great way to ground and reconnect with your partner. Register in advance at Zeyah Somatics. If yoga’s not your thing, this urban farm, supper club, venue space and catering company in the Cully neighborhood offers many other date-worthy and family-friendly summer events, like Friday Night Farm Dinners. Browse the online store for farm-fresh produce and products from local makers. And be sure to check out their monthly Collaborative BIPOC market; next one’s happening August 15!
Side Yard Farm and Kitchen
4800 NE Simpson St.
Scope the Art at Alberta Street Gallery
Local blogger Charlene Maugeri of Enduring All Things had this excellent recommendation for a local day date. Visit this artist collective featuring work from local artists. With safety precautions in place, you can safely spend an afternoon perusing the current showing. Maybe you’ll even purchase a special piece of art to enjoy at home! (And PS: be sure to check out Charlene’s blog for a plethora of other ideas for nurturing a relationship, beyond date night.)
Alberta Street Gallery
1829 NE Alberta St.
12-5 pm daily
Visit Bricks and Minifigs Portland. Yes, on a date.
Think beyond your kid’s LEGO collection. Visit Bricks and Minifigs, Portland’s impressive store for buying, selling, and trading all manner of building bricks, and celebrate your creativity. More detailed kits geared toward grown-ups have become wildly popular during the pandemic. Take home a Pirates of the Carribean kit, or take a stab at building a miniature Empire State Building. Browse this amazing store’s impressive collection of new and used sets, then take yours to the park, spread out a picnic blanket and a board, and spend an afternoon building together. Or, plan to put it together after your kids go to bed. Shhh, don’t tell. These LEGOs are just for you! Limit 10 people in the store, wear a mask, and obey social distancing guidelines. Or, shop online for curbside pick-up.
Bricks and Minifigs
3040 NE Sandy Blvd
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 12- 4 p.m.
Drive-in and Drive-up Movies
Make the drive to Newberg for a classic drive-in experience. Pick up takeout on your way, or hit the snack bar for movie treats. (Bring a mask!) As of this writing, cars are permitted to park backward and you can sit between vehicles in chairs and blankets, so long as you remain at least 6 feet from other groups.
Head out to the Dalles for a slight twist on the drive-in experience. The winery at the Sunshine Mill now offers drive-up movie nights! Enjoy classic concession stand goodies, or choose from a selection of appetizers and wine from the winery, while watching a film broadcast on the side of the building. Get cozy with your beloved and watch a feel-good classic (think old favorites like Grease, The Goonies, and E.T.)
Newberg 99W Drive-In
2900 Portland Rd.
Thurs-Sun. Box office opens at 7 p.m.; showtimes vary
$9/person age 12 or older
The Sunshine Mill
901 East 2nd St.
The Dalles, OR
Tasting room open daily 12-6 p.m.; until 8:30 p.m. prior to movie nights
Drive-up Movies offered Thurs.-Sat. after Sunset
Got a little more time (and childcare) and want to get away? Consider one of these options for extended day time adventures, full day trips, and quick overnights that are (relatively) safe during the pandemic.
Let’s start with a truly adventurous (and eminently affordable) new trend. Randonauting is kind of like Tarot meets Geocaching. (Sort of?) Download the free app to get coordinates on a map for a “quantumly-generated” location, which you then go investigate. User experiences vary widely and can be very interesting. Users believe that when a person interacts with the app to generate a quantum random number, a phenomenon known as Mind Matter Interaction is said to lend significance to the location coordinates received. Project designers say it’s somewhere in the middle of an art, a science, and a game. Yeah. It’s a little out there. Curious? Check it out for yourself.
There’s still time to stock up on the Pacific Northwest’s luscious blueberries, blackberries, and marionberries, now in peak season. Browse our list for the top five u-pick farms within driving distance of Portland. Be sure to inform yourself on Covid-19 guidelines, which vary by location, before heading out with your sweetie for a day of sun-kissed fun.
Various locations throughout the Portland Metro area.
Fishing at Indian Springs Trout Farm
Make an appointment for an hour of social-distanced fishing together at this trout and u-catch farm in Oregon City. Bring your own gear and bait. Buckets and a clean bag with ice for fish will be provided. A fishing license is not required, as the farm’s license covers all fishermen at their lakes. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the picnic area, and bring home your catch to prepare for dinner later.
Indian Springs Trout Farm
17951 S. Springwater Rd.
Oregon City, OR
6″ fish start at $5 and increase at $0.50/inch
To book: calendly.com/indianspringstroutfarm
Kayak on the Tualatin River
Spend a day on the water together, kayaking the Tualatin River. If you don’t have your own kayak, a number of rental outfitters are open during the pandemic with measures in place to allow for social distancing.
Tualatin Riverkeepers Cook Park Rentals
11675 SW Hazelbrook Rd.
Fri., Sat., & Sun.; hours vary
From $45/ 4 hours for a two-person kayak
**No drop-in rentals; Register in advance online**
Alder Creek Rentals
5855 SW Nyberg Lane
Daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
From $42/ 2 hours for a two-person kayak
Stay in a Tiny House with Getaway
Book a cabin for two in Mt. Adams with this new tiny-home vacation rental company. With hot showers, bathroom, heat and AC, a stove, and a comfy bed, it’s the perfect mix of camping and comfort. The collection of 30 cabins (built on a shipping container base) is nestled in a quiet 80-acre park near trails in Glenwood, Washington, about a two-hour drive from Portland. Safety measures are in place to make your stay a healthy one.
Getaway Portland Outpost
Don’t have childcare, or don’t want to go out? We’ve got you. There are lots of ways to connect at home. Here’s our starter list, with a local twist.
Creative Take-out and Cocktails
Our city’s impressive foodie culture is still alive. Support a local restaurant by ordering take-out to enjoy at home. You can even try a full 3-course meal and ask for wine pairings. At home, plate and serve each course one at a time as you would enjoy it at a restaurant. (After the littles are in bed, of course.)Try Magna, offering a delicious three-course Filipino meal for $25 that comes with a feel-good bonus: their meal-for-a-meal program means that for every meal you purchase, another will be donated to frontline workers, local community shelters, essential workers, and underserved communities.
If a happy hour is more your style, try a mix from a local artisan cocktail maker. The Silver Julep in Sellwood has a rotating menu of tantalizing blends, and Quaintrelle in the Northeast offers truly special cocktail kits complete with ice and garnish. Just add booze!
2525 SE Clinton St.
3936 N Mississippi Ave.
Cocktail kits available Wed.-Sun. 2-4 p.m.
Photo by AllGo via Unsplash
Take a Class Together
Tune in to a cooking class with popular, affordable platforms like Master Class or Airbnb Experiences. Want to take advantage of this time by sprucing up your home, affordably? Why not dabble in an upholstery project together? Or go local and get crafty by trying an online or carry-out class from the Rebuilding Center. You can try your hand at Home Electrical skills, carpentry, or joinery.
The Rebuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave.
Attend Virtual Events at OMSI
OMSI’s popular After Dark event is now available for at-home participation, along with other science-oriented presentations like Science Pubs, and even virtual concerts via the Kendall Planetarium. Pop some popcorn and nerd out together.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Make Your Own Spa
Now’s the perfect time to tap that Portland DIY spirit and get crafty. Learn to make your own self-care bath items and host a spa night. Give each other facials, exfoliate those home-bound feet for sandal weather, and brush up on your partner massage skills. Try Youtube, Creative Bug, or Instructables for easy at-home project ideas.
Gardening is a great way to destress and unwind together, and with daylight hours at their peak, you can take your baby monitor outdoors after bedtime and garden in the waning light. Don’t have a garden yet? It’s not to late to start! Late July and early August abound with opportunities to plant starts for a second, late-season harvest, or start preparing a fall or winter garden. Not sure where to start? Check our handy guide for urban farmers who are a little, ahem, green.
What Really Matters
Remember that dates are about connection and showing the other person that you care about them. Nurturing a relationship isn’t about going out and doing something, but making a point to be present for one another. That can be difficult to jump straight into, when quarantine has loaded all of our relationships with extra stress and, sometimes, a little too much togetherness. If that’s the case, a good first step could be to gift your partner with an entire day to themselves. Volunteer to take the kids out for a day, and set your partner up at home with something special as a way for them to nurture their human need for occasional solitude. Or let them venture off for a day off, outside the home. Next week? It’s your turn. Trade off until you have the bandwidth and desire to spend some quality time one-on-one. When all we’ve got is each other, it’s worthwhile to invest in the health of our loved ones and our relationships.